Solo's Kindergarten

Back in August, along with my annual bill for community fees on my land in Taveuni Estates, Fiji, I received a letter about a most worthy cause being undertaken by the Rotary Club there - a kindergarten to help the children of the area prepare for school.

Preschool education is not subsidized in Fiji so kids in rural areas like the island of Taveuni have a low rate of preschool attendance. This means a lot of kids are unprepared for the first grade in school and suffer late academic development. Taveuni Estates was built around the local village of Soqulu (pronounced Song-goo-loo), which was once a copra plantation, so there is a Fijian village within the subdivision and many children living there. The Taveuni Rotary Club, the people of Soqulu Village, residents and land owners, and Taveuni Estates Ltd., which manages the subdivision, have come together to make this kindergarten a reality.

Here's the latest report from residents Jeff and Karen Weigel:

"Today the newly painted already furnished Solo’s Kindergarten building is in the final stages of refurbishment – ahead of schedule - to accept its first class in January. A primary teacher and two alternatives have been selected and a first class of fifteen students enrolled.

"The Stephen Noble Kindergarten committee, with the financial help of several residents and full support of Taveuni Estates, has done an outstanding job.

"This is what has been accomplished:

"Thanks to Solomone Bale’s family for leasing Solo’s house to the Kindergarten Committee for 10 years at a nominal fee. Until his passing Solo was a long-term contributor to the success of Taveuni Estates [he built many of the original homes there - PB]. He now has a kindergarten and a pool deck in his name. His house, across the street from Soqulu Village, has now been completely painted and new flooring and a second toilet will soon be installed. Thirty kids showed up to help paint their school (School crossing signs and a crosswalk to be installed shortly).

"Our teacher, Ane Sivo, has completed the Certificate in Early Childhood Education from the University of the South Pacific and has several years teaching experience. Two alternative teachers have applied to the USP Early Childhood Education Course, paid for by the committee.

"Taveuni Rotary Club delivered 7 tables and 30 small chairs.

"Here is your opportunity to help! The kindergarten needs supplies and operating capital. If you will be traveling to Taveuni, bring supplies. Ms. Sivo’s classroom wish list is noted below.

The Wish List -

"Indoor activities:
Large crayons, colored chalk and colored pencils
Van Guard sheets (colored card board or construction paper)
A4 size paper or US letter size paper
powder paint or poster paint
water paints
paint brushes
round nose scissors
plaster dough, play dough or clay
blocks wooden and plastic
library books about numbers and the alphabet
toys, cars, trucks, boats, and dolls
musical instruments, bells, whistles
radio cassette
magnetic number and letters

"Outdoor activities:
outdoor games
ladder climbing
sand box
water basins

"Teachers' supplies:
inventory book
admission book
registered book
attendance book
log book
teachers work book
big ruler
pencils and pens"

I don't know if readers of this blog are in a position to help, but if you are, please give it your consideration. We in the industrialized world take much for granted that would be a godsend for the kids of Taveuni.

Perhaps you are not headed for Taveuni. If you would like to contribute financially, you can wire donations to Solo's Kindergarten. Please contact Pandabonium by email for the banking details or with your questions about helping out: pandabonium@yahoo.com

Vinaka vaka levu.


Children of Fiji said...

Excellent work. Will definitely give some serious thoughts & let our team know about this awesome projects. Maybe we can start here & then move on to others that needing similar projects around Beautiful Taveuni, what say!!

Pandabonium said...

Children of Fiji - Yes! and that's the plan. In fact, the Rotary Club of Taveuni Island has been busy. In the last few years, they've been renovating school buildings, building new pre-schools, working with Specialty Surgeons, shipping containers of school supplies from New Zealand, renovating water supply systems, and on and on. Their website is:

Martin J Frid said...

Preschool: that is really an important time to start. Wow, there is so much to learn, and experience. And some day, these kids will be our teachers.

I'm reminded of what Sean Connery said, at the AFI Awards ceremony:

"At 5 years old I learned to read, its that simple."

Pandabonium said...

Martin - that's a great line.

You know, when trillions of dollars are going to pay bonuses to millionaires who have failed and lost other people's life savings, and so little is spent on basics for innocent children who hold so much hope for the future, it really speaks volumes about how seriously flawed the system is.

Children of Fiji said...

Bula & Kia ora,

We will do some homework on this project as promised & revert back.

Have a Joyous & Safe Festive Seasons to you all.

Moce mada.

Ps. Great to hear you are a current landowning unit of the Garden Is. Pandabonium!!! Vinaka.

Pandabonium said...

Bula Vinaka Children of Fiji - A wonderful holiday to you as well.

Children of Fiji said...

May you & your families have a joyous & safe festive season.